In scenes that wouldn’t be out of place on the hit British TV comedy series Benidorm; British tourists have been describing their horror at being caught up in a “bloodbath” in Tunisia, otherwise known as regime change instigated by the people, hundreds and thousands of unarmed Tunisians, the majority of whom are under the age of 25.
While the shabab (youth) of Tunisia took to the streets to bring about the downfall of their brutal dictator Ben Ali, and create history by cementing the first Arab revolution by the street, many UK media organisations decided their main focus of attention should be the thousands of British tourists “stranded”, “terrified” and in “shock” who were caught up in the violence.
The Sun newspaper headline screamed “Shocked hol Brits flee bloodbath in Tunisia.” The newspaper went on to say that some tourists “compared the scenes on the streets of the North African country to a war zone.” Poor Brits, they really couldn’t have bargained for any of this when they booked their winter sun package tours in a police state where torture is as routine as a traffic warden slapping you with a fine for parking on a yellow line.
Meanwhile over on the BBC News Channel, footage of the first specially charted tourist planes bringing tourists back to the UK were beamed live in to our living rooms. As one of the planes landed at Manchester airport the reporter described how the Foreign Office was warning against all but essential travel to Tunisa as a state of emergency had been declared. A middle aged woman from Manchester popped up on the screen to describe to BBC News Channel viewers how she had “heard gunshots and seen men running around with guns on the streets.” I bet she wishes she hadn’t bothered spending the money on the holiday now. The sound of gunshots and gun carrying men running on the streets? Sounds like an average day in my home city of Manchester albeit without the sunshine.
Over on BBC Radio 5 Live it got even better when a man called in from Yorkshire to complain that the Duty Free had been closed due to the unfolding revolution. Sky News went to town about cruise ships being advised not to dock in Tunisia and so it went on and on. More than 72 hours on from one of the most momentous days in the history of the Arab world and the British media are still trying to tell the story from the eyes of the distressed white tourists.
A leading Tunisian tweeter @Weddady asked me to part with some advice for my fellow Brits on holiday in his country “@Shaista Aziz u can quote me. A revolution is ongoing; take your drunk ass somewhere else. Return after elections.”
Follow Shaista on Twitter: @shaistaAziz
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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